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Quick Catch Up

It's been a long time since Kev or I posted on here properly and a lot has happened!

The wedding went well - we had a wonderful day, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves! And so now we are officially Mr and Mrs Arlott. Thanks again everyone who could make it and for all the lovely gifts we were given, they were all very thoughtful and have all been used!

About two weeks after the wedding, I got a call from a company I had an interview with in January offering me the job (they turned me down initially, but thankfully remembered me when some more work came up!) and so at the end of April Kev and I moved down to the outskirts of Southampton to a little flat, in the servants quarters of an old Victorian mansionette. Charlie (of course) made the journey with us, but his super-cage-tank was damaged in the move - he was a bit miffed at spending the next couple of weeks back in his travel cage.

The flat is quite small but it's more than big enough for the two of us. The main building is surrounded by much of its original gardens, including an old vegetable patch gone wild, manicures lawns and some wonderful old trees (including but not limited to the biggest horse chestnut I have ever seen, some interesting oak varieties, a larch, a fir and a mighty Scots Pine, but sadly no lofty flowering cherries and I'm not sure about the plucky little aspen). Being on the second floor and surrounded by trees it's often a little bit like being in a fully kitted out tree house. We have bird feeders on the windows and get regular visits from blue-, great- and coal-tits and even a family of nuthatches (and, on one occasion, a spotted woodpecker).

We finally got around to replacing Charlie's cage about a month after moving in, instead of the same size opting for one 5 inches longer. Charlie loved to be back in his log again and continued enjoying his adventures, especially when he started to explore the whole flat (although on multiple occasions, and quite by accident, not in his ball).

In my job (Marine Geophysicist, then Senior Geophysicist the following year) I enjoyed processing a range of geophysical data including magnetometer, sidescan sonar and sub-bottom data. Sub-bottom is definitely my favourite and something that never ceases to amaze me, despite it being something I have spent the majority of my time processing.

Kev was offered a job later in the year with a pretty big company based in Frimley - it means an hour long commute for him but he insists this isn't a problem!

Putting so many miles on the W reg Astra meant it had it's ups and downs and in September 2010 it failed it's MOT. We replaced it with...Another white Vauhall Astra estate, slightly newer! This one had a mere 88k on the clock, but this later turned out to be someone had clocked it (although the seller, a dealer, denied all knowledge of it) and we think it had somewhere in the region of 120k when we got it, which is annoying.

We both started playing badminton with some of my friends from work which turned into a twice-weekly habit. We're both getting pretty good now and it's definitely helped the two of us keep fit.

In late November my works had a Christmas Party, and we got the excuse to dress up and have some fun with our new friends.

Christmas 2010 was spent up in North Wales - for a second year heavy snow covered the whole country and we managed to get some fairly impressive photos of Kev snowboarding on the beach at Black Rock Sands.

We spent the weekend after our first anniversary in Florence. What a beautiful and inspiring city! I am also trying to learn Italian in my own time, but motivation issues are slowing me down.

Sadly we lost Charlie in early August 2011, and gained Winter two weeks later- I will post about that separately.

September saw Kev compete in the Euros at Hoylake, and our first package holiday to Isola di San Pietro, in Sardinia. It made a nice change to be able to swim comfortaby in the sea - I have never swum in a warm sea before! We did a load of snorkelling, and Kev enjoyed using his prescription mask and being able to see the multitude of fish.

That pretty much brings us to where we are now - so much for a "Quick Catch Up"!!


So long since either of us last posted. Partially due to the fact I forgot my password. I'm not sure what Kev's excuse is!

I at least will be back soon!

5 Minute Microwave Cake

I was a little dubious of trying this at first. But when I realised that if I could get it to work, it would have the benefit of being no more than 5 minutes away from chocolate cake, I had to give it a go - wouldn't you?


4 tbsp flour
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
1 medium egg
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp oil
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large mug (we used a Pete's Eats Mug, and it was spot on for size)


  1. Add all the dry ingredients to the mug, and mix it all well. Add the egg and mix again, thoroughly.
  2. Add the milk and oil, and mix again - make sure you do it well!
  3. If you want, add 2-3tbsp chocolate chips at this stage, along with a splash of vanilla extract. Make sure you stir it again, really really well.
  4. Whack it in the microwave quickly (if you're slow, the chips sink and you end up with a half burn mess at the bottom of the mug). Cook it on high/1000watts for 3 minutes. You can watch, if you've got nothing better to do - your cake might overflow the mug.
  5. Once it's cooled a little, you can tip it out into a bowl - if you're feeling a bit greedy, you can eat the whole thing by yourself, but it will easily serve two. I had whipped cream with mine, but a hot chocolate sauce also wouldn't go amiss.

We've still got to try this a few more times, before we can get the recipe right, but for a quick chocolate fix you can't really go wrong!

So there you have it - possibly the most dangerous recipe in the world, if only because it means we are always but 5 minutes away from hot chocolate cake.

Giving Notice

Kev and I have finally given Notice for our wedding. We've had a load of problems because we're both living in Scotland but want to get married in England - apparently this isn't allowed, because it's classed as immigration! So to get around it we had to go and live with my Dad for a while. After much hoo-har with the Job Centre and various registrars we packed up, along with Charlie, and boogied on down to Derby for a while.

We got all sorts of stuff done - we had to make a special day trip to Chester for my first proper dress fitting, where I met up with Sarah and my Mum. I spoke to the florist and have pretty much all but settled on what flowers we're having, and we also got all our invitations handed out/posted.

We also added a load of miles to the Hamster Milometer:

Hamster Miles to Date: 1036.55 miles
Hamster Miles This Trip: 722.04 miles

TOTAL HAMSTER MILES:  1758.59 miles

But the main thing is that we managed to finally give notice, so, in about a week, we should legally be able to get married next March. One more thing struck from the ever growing list of things to do!

Handmade Things

Kev and I have spent a lot of time recently trying to find affordable but bespoke wedding rings, as the Date looms ever nearer.

Recently we stubled across Etsy. Etsy is a website devoted to the selling of handmade or vintage products, and there are some beautiful things available!

Left to right; Harlequin and Gray Titanium Wedding Band Set - Zoe and Doyle, Iridized Titanium Tension Set Ring by robandlean, Copper Waves - Hand Hammered Adjustable Copper Ring by GenuineArticle.

So if you're looking for some inspiration for a sligtly different and almost certainly bespoke ring, look here!

New Speakers

Well, the exciting world of music has now opened up to me, having been tempted by new speakers for ages and never really being able to justify spending however large an amount of money to buy some good high quality but loud speakers, I was browsing the other day and discovered the Logitech X 230 2.1 set, which I have to say, are able to kick out a lot of Bass, a little too much for my liking on anything other than with the Bass turned right down. However the quality and experience they provide is excellent for £25-30 speakers.

Unfortunately now poor Charlie is relegated to the other room whenever I want to play music ;-)

Long live the Prodigy and Pendulum! (and Innerpartysystem too...)

New Phone

After a lot of hassle, I have finally been able to upgrade my phone. Orange have given me a brilliant deal on minutes and messages for the next 18 months - since September 2006 I've been paying £25 a month for 100 minutes and 1000 texts.

Now I am paying a mere £10 a month and getting 400 minutes and unlimited texts ("unlimited" being capped at 3000) so even if I only use the 500 or so texts a month I have been using since moving to Scotland, I'm still better off.

There is a price for this, however. I originally owned the Sony Ericsson K810i, and I have to say I loved it. It's been run over, dropped out of windows, thrown across the room and suffered barely a scratch. After the Samsun E900 I had before, the K810i seemed near indestructable. Therefore I was looking to upgrade to a better Ericsson.

I asked on the phone with Orange which phones I could have, and they said the C510 or the W595. I like both, but was reluctant to go back to sliding phones after all the problems I and others have had with them, so the C510 won out - then Orange told me they could only do it me in Silver.

NOOOOOOO! It just looks so wrong in silver. Please, can I have a black one I asked. No. So I gave it a little while and phoned them back. I'd rather have the W595 in blue and look after it than the C510 in silver. Yes, that'd be fine, they said. But we only have the W595 in Pink, and we have no idea when or if we'll get the blue ones in again.

NOOOOOOO! A silver phone or a pink phone? So I chose the lesser of two evils. I caved and got the C510, purely because the camera is better on it than the W595.

Now I am the proud owner of a phone that looks very much like an out of date Nokia. I am going to buy a cover for it ASAP, and probably won't take it out in public.

Only 18 months until I can upgrade to a new one!

Hello! Goodbye Uni, goodbye Biscuit …

Right. Sorry for not updating for a while those of you who do read this - I've been really busy finishing my last year at Uni.

I did my dissertation on changes to sedimentary regimes due to tidal barrage schemes. It doesn't sound very interesting, but I found it fascinating! That scored a first in the end, so I was quite delighted with that score!

I graduated  with a high 2.i (68%. Grr.) so I'm really pleased with that mark- now all I need to do is get a JOB.

Biscuit died last month. I've missed her ever so much - I'll write about it in a separate post. It's amazing how much you can love something so small, and how big a hole they leave when they go. But she helped me through Uni and for that I'm eternally grateful to her!

I have every intention of keeping this better updated from now on. Promise. When I have something exciting to say, I'll say it, instead of thinking "I really have to update the blog at some point...".

It’s that time again…

Spring is here, the weather's picking up, kiting days are becoming more and more often...

 I have a 10 000 word essay worth 40% of a module to do for two weeks time, I've got other courseworks (worth 10, 5 and 2%) due in a week, and exams are only a fortnight away.

Who organises courses so everyone's stuck inside when the weather's so good?!

Never mind. Summer's on it's way!

Nightmare Train Journeys!

Last week I caught the train up to Kev's - I checked the night before and discovered I'd be on a coach from Carlisle to Glasgow Central because of works on the lines, hey ho, I thought, on with the trip, may be a little later than usual but never mind!

On the way from Bangor to Crewe and my first change, the people working on the train announced that there were major southbound delays because a freight train had shed its load near Milton Keynes - haha! I thought, for I am northward bound!

At Crewe, I searched high and low for the platform on which to catch my next train to Carlisle, its final destination Lockerbie. The furthest north I could see was for Preston. Hmm, thought I, strange things are afoot. I found a desk and asked what was happening, and was politely told the train I was catching was only going so far as Preston, and nobody knew why. So I caught it, my logic being I was at Crewe, I might as well carry on! Bit of an adventure and all.

Upon asking the crew of the train what was going off, and this time they seemed to think we were going all the way to Lockerbie as planned. Things were getting stranger.

At Preston we were all told to get off. Another freight train had shed its load, this time over Shap, and we were all to catch the bus to either Carlisle or Lockerbie. So we did, and I ended up sat next to a nice enough old lady who ran an animal sanctuary, which wasn't so bad because we had an awful lot to talk about with complaining about the way Universities are run these days to keeping small animals.

Carlisle came and I had just enough time to run to the toilet before catching the next bus to Glasgow. On the M74 on the way into Glasgow we overtook a very familiar looking white Astra estate (and waved to the driver, this was myself and a new old lady I'd found). Eventually Kev found me outside Glasgow Central - I finally got to my destination!

 On the way back, my train left Glasgow 20 minutes late. Some overhead lines had gone down between Carlisle and Oxenholme, so the trains were having to take it in turns to get through! This meant I arrived at Warrington Bank Quay an hour late and had to wait a further hour for a train to Llandudno....and then another one to Holyhead! I got back 3 hours later than I should have done.

I think I'm going to give up getting the train. Until Thursday, when I go to Hoylake again. Hmm.